‘A step in the right direction.” That’s what Barack Obama said in Poland, Ohio, about Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report, which showed only 80,000 net new jobs and unemployment remaining at 8.2 percent.
The thought will occur to many, not all of them Obama detractors, that this was at best a baby step. It’s not enough to keep up with population growth, much less to restore the low unemployment rates of most of the 1990s and 2000s. Another thought will occur to professional amateur political strategists: Why did the president’s campaign schedule a two-day bus tour of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to coincide with the day the unemployment numbers were announced?
Sure, Ohio and Pennsylvania are important states politically. They have 18 and 20 electoral votes, and Obama carried them in 2008 with 51 and 54 percent of the votes. But current polling shows Obama with only 46 percent in Ohio and 47 percent in Pennsylvania, when paired against Mitt Romney.